During pregnancy, some women may experience some inconsistencies such as constipation and haemorrhoids. These are extremely uncomfortable and make stooling very difficult. However, maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercise can help make your pregnancy a bit less uncomfortable.
Constipation means that you are not able to pass faeces as often as you normally should, or you have to strain more than usual to do this. This is often common in the early stages of pregnancy due to the hormonal changes in the body. Constipation can also cause your stools to be unusually hard, lumpy, large or small. There are a few things you can do to help prevent constipation.
- Eat fiber rich foods, such as wholemeal breads, wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables, you can also opt for legumes such as beans and lentils
- Exercising regularly helps to keep the muscles toned and flexible
- Drink plenty of water, enough that you not thirsty
- Drink castor oil, as this will help soften the stool
Haemorrhoids, or ‘piles’, are enlarged and swollen veins in or around the lower rectum and anus. When you’re pregnant, haemorrhoids can occur because hormones make your veins relax, and your increasing uterus and womb are sitting on your digestive tracts. They may itch, ache or feel sore, and one can easily feel the lumpiness of them around the anus. Going to the toilet then becomes painful and you may even start to bleed, because of the straining. During pregnancy, there is little or nothing to do to prevent them from happening. One can opt for it to be surgically removed, but during pregnancy, most doctors prefer to treat it by helping the mother pass stool easily for the sake of the fetus. Haemorrhoids usually disappear within weeks after childbirth.
How to ease haemorrhoids
Constipation can lead to haemorrhoids. Here are some tips to help ease this condition
- Avoid standing for long periods
- Exercise regularly to improve your blood circulation
- You may find it helpful to use a cloth enclosed in iced water to ease the pain – hold it gently against the haemorrhoids
- If the haemorrhoids stick out, push them gently back inside using a lubricating jelly, or have a doctor help you do that
- Avoid straining to pass a stool as this may make your them worse. If you have to strain, drink a lot of water or castor oil, give yourself some time and then try again
- After stooling, clean your anus with moist toilet paper instead of dry toilet paper
- Pat your anus instead of rubbing the area
There are medicines available that can help soothe the haemorrhoids. Ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist if they can suggest a suitable ointment to help ease the pain. DO NOT use a cream or medication without checking with them first.